(What is Driving Humanity in the Wrong Direction)
The longer I travel, the more of the world I witness, the greater the personal stories I hear of other global citizens, the less appealing it is for me to want to get married and have kids, the less intimate I want to be with humans in general. Perhaps this comes from fear of being judged, or for the intrinsic understanding of the basic vulnerabilities that all people have, that makes me feel all too connected. My former self would look at me now and think I was peculiar, crazy, and assume that no one would want to be my friend because of this unusual way of how I view humanity. The thought that all of this, all of these connections I’ve developed with humankind, could be cut off at any moment in time due to loss of life on either end, makes it all feel a bit lost and depressing at the same time. But why would I see humanity through this lens? Why has my attraction to humankind diminished greatly over the course of the later half of my twenties? When all of my friends and people I follow are getting married and having kids, traveling with their significant others, why don’t I even see the desire to want to do so? What changed, and what prompted this unusual connection I now develop with people? After traveling to every country in the world and meeting thousands of different people, my perception of humanity has changed.
When I look at a human, I immediately notice their eyeballs, the color, the shape, the window into their soul, but also the ball that fills the socket to a facial bone structure that is unique to them. I see the curvature of their veins beneath their skin, filled with blood that enables them to stay conscious as they talk to me. When I meet someone for coffee or lunch, I see their need to want to fill their innards with something filling, to quench their thirst. I observe as they chew and swallow, as humans do. And despite the size of the human in front of me, or the choice of food that they make, eventually, they’ll go to the toilet, just as all humans do. We all feel suffering, we all feel happiness, we all feel the cold and we all feel the heat. We are all trying to survive. And when we look at the basic composition of all humankind, we should know that we’re all copies of one another. Our ancestors stemmed from Africa. We all had darker skin to begin with, and that darker pigmentation was able to protect our outer organ from the harsh rays of the sun. Overtime, we dispersed, and while our outer appearances have become variant, our composition has remained the same.
One thing’s for sure; each and every one of us is born alone into a world that we must succeed in navigating and surviving, and at the end of our lives, we die alone as well. Our stories are permanent within us, and due to insecurities, jealousies, the crave for individuality, etc., we may choose to never share the depths of our life story with anyone. Some of us choose to share the depths of our story with someone of whom we trust, one who remains close to us. But many of us won’t, for fear of being judged, criticized, blamed, or stereotyped by another human who, ironically, shares the same basic makeup. Why should we be judged by someone of our own, when, aren’t they just trying to survive as well? Just like me? None of us want to put ourselves into a sad, confused space where we feel the need to defend our essence and our story. The story that we are constantly molding to ultimately feel happier and more fulfilled. The story that involves daily hunger, daily thirst, the desire to be loved and to have a roof over our heads.
When we stereotype someone, when we label someone, we place them into a blatant category of differentiation, to essentially find a way to prove that they are undeserving or more deserving of the same, basic needs and values of what makes a life worth living.
For two years, I traveled to 196+ countries in search of peace, unity, and understanding of one another. What I discovered, was true humanity at its core, and the basic principles that we all share. I was waiting for my suitcase at the baggage claim at JFK and beside me to my left, was a man of Islamic religion, wearing a grey thobe and matching kufi while to my right, a man of Jewish religion stood wearing a black kippah and matching bekishe. When the man to my left’s bag passed him, the man to my right took it off the belt, reaching in front of me, and handed it to him. As I stood between the two as a young woman in my tight leggings, long blonde hair and sweater with a cutout back, obviously not a member of either religion, in no way, was I less or more important nor deserving than the person next to me. These two men, despite religious or cultural backgrounds or appearance, at that moment in time, shared a moment of humanity, a moment that did not involve a “label”, but more so the desire to help one another to further the other persons survival. To “take a load off” and to help them with something that the other wasn’t able to help himself with. The man of Jewish religion, saw this challenge as something he likely experienced in the past with himself, and wanted to feel fulfilled as he helped another human.
Humans are mammals. Our ancestors likely judged others based on how physically capable they looked on the outside, for it might have relied heavily on their ability to hunt and source for food. However, did they label their brothers and sisters? Did they, in their own language, call them things like, “entitled”, “n-word”, “privileged”, “fat”, etc.? Perhaps those stereotypes didn’t exist back then. But don’t we now make assumptions of others based on whether their “rich” or “poor”, “entitled” or “disadvantaged, “privileged” or “white privileged”, “overly-sensitive” or a “narcissist”? These stereotypes have over time, consumed the minds of humans enough to disorient us from the true nature of who were really are and how we’re all deeply connected.
In observation of humans through travel and on social media, I prefer to remain silenced, for I fear that I will be placed into yet another box, another stereotype, another assumption about where my mind is, what I’m thinking, and who I really am, trying to dig deeper into my life’s story in order to just dismantle it and further divide humankind. Personally speaking, I’m no better or worse than all the rest. I share the same hunger, the same thirst, the same outer organ and I spill the same color of blood. Not wanting or being able to connect with other humans in a group, or not wanting to associate with groups of people (whether physical or virtual), does not make me a “loner” or an “introvert” or “weird”.
Every person has their reasons for how they choose to survive their own life, and everyone owns the right to their actions and way of living. And though we have the same basic needs and desires, we all share incredibly different and exotic dreams, thoughts, aspirations, wants, and feels. What breaks us apart as a species, is this outer layer of thought. Because these thoughts are what distort our view of others, who share the exact same makeup as ourselves. When we label other humans, we label ourselves. We’re all finding a way to be individualistic, and “break away from the norm”, but the norm is you, the “norm” is I. I am no more “beautiful”, “privileged”, “selfish”, than you. You work to survive, to provide for yourself, to nourish yourself, to love yourself, so that you can do the same for the ones you love. Your mental intelligence varies from mine, but the make up of your brain is the same to mine. We use our minds to their greatest capacity to work towards creating the best life that we can for ourselves. You choose to graduate college, I don’t, but we’re both succeeding, albeit in different ways, we’re living, we’re thriving, we’re each succeeding in our own, unique ways. You use your mind to develop resources to shelter your children, I use my mind to develop resources to fund my business. We use our minds to pursue dreams that are specific to us, and so long as we’re not harming others or ourselves, no way of furthering a dream is wrong or right, no dream is better or worse, and no way of getting to where we need to be involves being “privileged” or not. In the true essence of human kind, we all have the capacity to follow a dream, big or small, make a difference, big or small, and in no way does our looks have anything to do with how successful we are or we aren’t. We can all try our best, we can all commit ourselves, we can all persevere, we are a strong and intelligent species who all share the same, basic makeup.
Each and every one of us has the personal choice to work hard to achieve something that we’re passionate about. We can move mountains, we can break barriers, we can help ourselves to see the truth of who we are and how unimportant labels are when it comes to our true essence of survival and drive.
Humans have done amazing things in history, humans of all walks of life, humans of all different colors, humans of all different beliefs, humans, have done amazing things. Perhaps we’re scared, perhaps we want to be the best, so we make excuses to make ourselves stand out or sink in with humanity. It’s a tough world of survival, but none of us are going to survive death. Each and every one of our 7 billion lives are minuscule in the grand scheme of things, but each one matters immensely. Why do we matter? We matter to enhance and strengthen our species so that we will last longer on this planet, for years to come. In this day and age, survival is money for many of us, and money divides us. I saw the effects of this in all corners of the world. And while we’d all love to follow our passions to survival, many of us feel we can’t. Thanks to technology, we see others thriving and money being the driving force. We place these people into categories, because we don’t think we could ever be there, in their shoes or in the same realm of life. We see these humans as intimidating, and almost don’t want to believe that it was that easy for them to get to where they are, so we place them in categories. We call them, “privileged”, we call them “entitled”, we call them “lucky”. But just as you’re trying to survive, they are too. Likely, their minds dream was starkly different than yours. Likely they worked hard to get to where they are, you, too, work hard, to get to where you are. Likely, they have to face inner demons, of which you might face, but in a different way.
Each and every one of us has the ability to pursue our passions, and to pursue them in our own unique ways. Placing stereotypes on others to justify who they are, or how they came to be, not only weakens, but sets us back as a species who aim to thrive for years to come.
Our world is not at peace for many reasons, but for what I saw across all nations, this was due to human labeling. I saw it happening to others, I saw it happening to me. I don’t speak up because if I do, it’ll be another swarm of name calling. I don’t immerse myself in groups, because groups have a label, again which divide people, and I don’t want to add to the collective separation of humankind.
We will get there. Once we slowly acknowledge the broken words that flow from our mouths or our hands, we can then turn them into a matter of understanding. Instead of labeling, learn someones story. Perhaps they share the same dream, perhaps they’re also hurt, or perhaps they’re hungry. Respect their story, and if it doesn’t align with yours, that’s okay, but just acknowledge that they, too, are just trying to survive.
Personal Note: With having a larger online platform, I feel that it’s my responsibility to raise my voice on issues and matters that concern me, and human labeling and online bullying are just two of the many topics that need to be addressed. I am not perfect, and I myself am guilty of having labeled people in the past, but as someone who is in the public eye, I’ve suddenly become a target of the effects of online bullying and labeling for over four years now. Note that this particular article is of my own opinion, and is not meant to be offensive or hurtful to anyone, but purely to raise awareness towards this global problem to eventually come up with a solution. Thank you for listening.